Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS6671145 B2
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 09/812,624
Publication date30 Dec 2003
Filing date20 Mar 2001
Priority date20 Mar 2001
Fee statusPaid
Also published asUS20020135958
Publication number09812624, 812624, US 6671145 B2, US 6671145B2, US-B2-6671145, US6671145 B2, US6671145B2
InventorsFrantz Germain, Stephen Stewart, Roger M. Bradley, David Y. Chan, Nichalas L. Disalvo, William R. Ziegler
Original AssigneeLeviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Reset lockout mechanism and independent trip mechanism for center latch circuit interrupting device
US 6671145 B2
Abstract
Resettable circuit interrupting devices, such as GFCI devices, that include a reset lockout mechanism, an independent trip mechanism and reverse wiring protection. A conical reset plunger is notched to force a successful test before reset.
Images(18)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(1)
What is claimed:
1. A circuit interrupting device comprising:
a housing;
a phase conductive path disposed at least partially within said housing between a line side and a load side, said phase conductive path terminating at a first connection capable of being electrically connected to a source of electricity, a second connection capable of conducting electricity to at least one load;
a circuit interrupting portion disposed within said housing and configured to cause electrical discontinuity in said phase conductive path between said line side and said load side upon the occurrence of a predetermined condition; and
a reset portion disposed at least partially within said housing and configured to reestablish electrical continuity in said phase conductive path,
wherein said reset portion further comprises a reset lockout portion having a spring biased reset member with protrusion for interfering with a lever latch and a test switch portion to cause a test that clears the interference if successful in order to prevent reestablishing electrical continuity in said phase and neutral conductive paths if said circuit interrupting portion is non-operational, if an open neutral condition exists or if a reverse wiring condition exists.
Description
CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in part of application Ser. No. 09/812,288 To Be Determined, filed Mar. 20, 2001, entitled Circuit Interrupting Device with Reset Lockout and Reverse Wiring Protection and Method of Manufacture, by inventors Steven Campolo, Nicholas DiSalvo and William R. Ziegler, which is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 09/379,138 filed Aug. 20, 1999, which is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 09/369,759 filed Aug. 6, 1999, which is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 09/138,955, filed Aug. 24, 1998, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,040,967, all of which are incorporated herein in their entirety by reference.

This application is related to commonly owned application Ser. No. 09/812,875 To Be Determined, filed Mar. 20, 2001, entitled Reset Lockout for Sliding Latch GFCI, by inventors Frantz Germain, Stephen Stewart, David Herzfeld, Steven Campolo, Nicholas DiSalvo and William R. Ziegler, which is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 09/688,481 filed Oct. 16, 2000, all of which are incorporated herein in their entirety by reference.

This application is related to commonly owned application Ser. No. 09/379,140 filed Aug. 20, 1999, which is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 09/369,759 filed Aug. 6, 1999, which is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 09/138,955, filed Aug. 24, 1998, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,040,967, all of which are incorporated herein in their entirety by reference.

BACKGROUND

1. Field

The present application is directed to resettable circuit interrupting devices including without limitation ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI's), arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCI's), immersion detection circuit interrupters (IDCI's), appliance leakage circuit interrupters (ALCI's), equipment leakage circuit interrupters (ELCI's), circuit breakers, contactors, latching relays and solenoid mechanisms. More particularly, the present application is directed to circuit interrupting devices that include a circuit interrupting portion that can isolate a power source connector from a load connector.

2. Description of the Related Art

Many electrical wiring devices have a line side, which is connectable to a source of electrical power, and at least one load side, which is connectable to one or more loads and at least one conductive path between the line and load sides. There are circuit breaking devices or systems such as Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) which are designed to interrupt power to various loads, such as household appliances, consumer electrical products and branch circuits. GFCI devices, such as the device described in commonly owned U.S. Pat. No. 4,595,894, use an electrically activated trip mechanism to mechanically break an electrical connection between the line side and the load side. Such devices are resettable after they are tripped by, for example, the detection of a ground fault. In the device discussed in the '894 patent, the trip mechanism used to cause the mechanical breaking of the circuit (i.e., the conductive path between the line and load sides) includes a solenoid (or trip coil). A test button is used to test the trip mechanism and circuitry used to sense faults, and a reset button is used to reset the electrical connection between line and load sides.

However, instances may arise in which an abnormal occurrence, such as a lightning strike, may disable the trip mechanism used to break the circuit. Accordingly, a user may find a GFCI in a tripped state and not be aware that the internal trip mechanism is not functioning properly. The user may then press the reset button, which will cause the device with an inoperative trip mechanism to be reset. The GFCI will be in a dangerous condition because it will then provide power to a load without ground fault protection.

Further, an open neutral condition or reverse wiring condition may be present. Such conditions may be dangerous and it may be advantageous for a GFCI to disable a reset function if such conditions or other conditions exist.

The applications referenced above as related applications are commonly owned and incorporated herein by reference. The applications generally relate to locking out a reset function or otherwise disabling a circuit interrupting device on the occurrence of a condition.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,933,063 to Keung, et al., purports to describe a GFCI device and apparently utilizes a single center latch. U.S. Pat. No. 5,933,063 is hereby in its entirety be reference. U.S. Pat. No. 5,594,398 to Marcou, et al., purports to describe a GFCI device and apparently utilizes a center latch. U.S. Pat. No. 5,594,398 is hereby in its entirety be reference. U.S. Pat. No. 5,510,760 to Marcou, et al., purports to describe a GFCI device and apparently utilizes a center latch. U.S. Pat. No. 5,594,398 is hereby in its entirety be reference. A typical GFCI design that may benefit from a modification according to the present invention has been marketed under the designation Pass & Seymour Catalog No. 1591.

Another GFCI design that may benefit from a modification according to the present invention has been marketed under the designation Bryant Catalog Number GFR52FTW.

SUMMARY

The present application relates to a resettable circuit interrupting devices that lockout the reset function under certain conditions. In one embodiment, a test mechanism is utilized to test the circuit interrupter before allowing a reset. In an embodiment, a reset plunger is modified to exert force on a trip latch in order to close a test circuit that will allow the reset plunger to continue to a reset position only if the circuit interrupter is functioning.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Preferred embodiments of the present application are described herein with reference to the drawings in which similar elements are given similar reference characters, wherein:

FIGS. 1a-b is an exploded view of a prior art GFCI;

FIGS. 2a-b is a sectional side view of the mechanism of the prior art GFCI of FIGS. 1a-b;

FIG. 3 is a detailed side view of the mechanism of the prior art GFCI shown in FIGS. 2a-b showing the movable contact;

FIG. 4 is a side view of a mechanism of a GFCI according to the present invention;

FIG. 5 is a side view of a GFCI plunger according to the present invention;

FIGS. 6a-c is a side view of the GFCI mechanism during stages of reset according to the present invention;

FIGS. 7a-b is a sectional side view of the mechanism of a prior art GFCI;

FIG. 8 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a ground fault circuit interrupting device according to the present invention;

FIG. 9 is an exploded view of a portion of a GFCI according to the present invention;

FIGS. 10a-f is a sectional side view of the mechanism of a portion of the GFCI of FIG. 8;

FIG. 11 is an exploded view of a prior art GFCI as shown in FIGS. 7a-b;

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of one embodiment of a ground fault circuit interrupting device according to the present invention;

FIG. 13a is a perspective view of a solenoid plunger of a GFCI according to another embodiment of the present invention according to FIG. 12 as modified from plunger 166 of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13b is a perspective view of a reset button/lift plunger/test contact of a GFCI according to the embodiment of the present invention according to FIG. 12 as modified from 128 of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13c is a perspective view of a trip button of a GFCI according to the embodiment of the present invention according to FIG. 12 as modified from 126 of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13d is a perspective view of a release lever wire of a GFCI according to the embodiment of the present invention according to FIG. 12;

FIG. 13e is a perspective view of a contact carrier with switch attached of a GFCI according to the embodiment of the present invention according to FIG. 12 as modified from 180-182 of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13f is a perspective view of a shuttle/test contact of a GFCI according to the embodiment of the present invention according to FIG. 12 as modified from 178 of FIG. 11;

FIG. 13g is a side and partial top view of the latch of a GFCI according to another embodiment of the present invention that is similar to FIG. 12 as modified from 178 of FIG. 11;

FIGS. 14a-c is a cutaway representation of part of a prior art GFCI.

FIG. 15 is a cutaway representation of part of a GFCI according to an embodiment of the present invention and relates to FIGS. 14a-c; and

FIGS. 16a-b is a cutaway representation of part of a GFCI according to an embodiment of the present invention and relates to FIGS. 14a-c.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS

The present application contemplates various types of circuit interrupting devices that are capable of breaking at least one conductive path. The conductive path is typically divided between a line side that connects to supplied electrical power and a load side that connects to one or more loads. As noted, the various devices in the family of resettable circuit interrupting devices include: ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI's), arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCI's), immersion detection circuit interrupters (IDCI's), appliance leakage circuit interrupters (ALCI's) and equipment leakage circuit interrupters (ELCI's).

For the purpose of the present application, the structure or mechanisms used in the circuit interrupting devices, shown in the drawings and described hereinbelow, are incorporated into a GFCI receptacle suitable for installation in a single-gang junction box used in, for example, a residential electrical wiring system. However, the mechanisms according to the present application can be included in any of the various devices in the family of resettable circuit interrupting devices.

The circuit interrupting and reset portions described herein preferably use electro-mechanical components to break (open) and make (close) one or more conductive paths between the line and load sides of the device. However, electrical components, such as solid state switches and supporting circuitry, may be used to open and close the conductive paths.

Generally, the circuit interrupting portion is used to automatically break electrical continuity in one or more conductive paths (i.e., open the conductive path) between the line and load sides upon the detection of a fault, which in the embodiments described is a ground fault. The reset portion is used to close the open conductive paths.

In the embodiments including a reset lockout, the reset portion is used to disable the reset lockout, in addition to closing the open conductive paths. In this configuration, the operation of the reset and reset lockout portions is in conjunction with the operation of the circuit interrupting portion, so that electrical continuity in open conductive paths cannot be reset if a predetermined condition exists such as the circuit interrupting portion being non-operational, an open neutral condition existing and/or the device being reverse wired.

In the embodiments including an independent trip portion, electrical continuity in one or more conductive paths can be broken independently of the operation of the circuit interrupting portion. Thus, in the event the circuit interrupting portion is not operating properly, the device can still be tripped.

The above-described features can be incorporated in any resettable circuit interrupting device, but for simplicity the descriptions herein are directed to GFCI receptacles.

A circuit interrupting device having any one or more of a reset lockout mechanism, an independent trip mechanism or a separate user load break point may be desirable.

A portion of the mechanism of a prior art GFCI is shown in FIGS. 1a, 1 b, 2 a, 2 b and 3.

The relevant portion of the operation of the prior art GFCI is summarized as follows. When the reset button 80 is pressed down the plunger cone forces the latch 60 to be pressed to the right in FIG. 2a. The latch 60 will come into a position where the hole in the latch 60 is aligned with the plunger 78 such that the conical tip 78 b of the plunger 78 a will pass through the hole. When the plunger goes all the way through the hole, the sliding latch is biased to go back to the left in FIG. 2b, such that the shoulder of the plunger conical tip comes into contact with the latch 60. When the reset button is released, the plunger 78 is biased upward and the latch 60 is pressed upward causing the device to reset and cause contact 30 to connect to contact 70 in FIG. 3. If the device trips and the solenoid 50 causes the plunger 54 to move latch 60 to the right, the plunger 78 will pass upward through latch 60 and allow the latch, which is biased down to break the contacts.

With reference to FIGS. 4-6, an embodiment of the present invention includes a reset plunger 78′ that includes a notched conical tip 78 b′ that forces latch 60′ to act to close switch S1 when the reset plunger 78′ is depressed. When switch S1 is depressed, a circuit is closed from the load phase to the line neutral through a current limiting resistor R.

With reference to FIG. 5, the embodiment of the present invention includes a reset plunger 78′ that includes a notched conical tip 78 b′.

With reference to FIGS. 6a-6 c, the reset lockout mechanism of the this embodiment is described. When the reset plunger 78′ starts down in direction A, the latch 60′ is in its leftmost position. The notched plunger tip 78 b′ will hit the top of latch 60′ and force it down such that switch S1 is closed to engage a test. As shown in FIG. 6b, in this embodiment, the test is accomplished by completing the circuit from the load phase to the line neutral through a current limiting resistor R. If the circuit interrupting device is operational and properly wired as shown by the test, the solenoid forces plunger 54 to slide latch 60′ in direction B out from under the notch in 78 b′ allowing the reset plunger 78′ to complete its journey in direction A such that latch 60′ will move left and rest atop plunger shoulder 78 c′ as shown in FIG. 6c. Thereafter, the reset plunger, when released will pull up latch 60′ under its bias to complete the reset of the device.

As can be appreciated, if the test fails, the latch 60′ will not move in direction B and the notched conical tip 78 b′ of the reset plunger 78′ will keep the plunger from going through the hole in the latch 60′ and the device will be locked out from the reset function.

As can be appreciated, a bridge circuit may be implemented to provide reverse wiring protection as described in the pending commonly owned application referenced above. For example, with reference to FIG. 1a of the prior art, a single contact 68,70 is utilized to close a circuit to a load phase terminal 64 c and two user load phase terminals 64 a and 64 b through connector 64. As can be appreciated, terminal 64 c could be isolated from connector 64 and arm 24 may utilize a second contact to independently provide a circuit to 64 c. Similarly, the modification would be made to both conductive paths of the device. Furthermore an indicator such as a neon bulb may be utilized to indicate a reverse wiring condition.

As can also be appreciated, the device may be manufactured or initialized into a tripped state and distributed in the tripped state such that a user would be required to reset the device before using it.

A portion of the mechanism of another prior art GFCI is shown in FIGS. 7a, and 7 b and is somewhat similar to the previously described prior art unit in some details.

The relevant portion of the operation of the prior art GFCI is summarized as follows. When the reset button 128 is pressed down the lower cone shaped end of the plunger forces a sliding spring latch to the side until the plunger can go through and the latch will spring back to rest on the shoulder of the sliding spring latch and then pull the device into a reset position.

With reference to FIGS. 8-10f, another embodiment of the present invention includes a GFCI 201 having a rest button 210 and trip button 212.

With reference to FIG. 9, the reset button 210 has a bias spring 210 a, a shaft 210 b, a conical tip with step 210 d and the conical tip has a shoulder 210 c. The trip button 212 has a bias spring 212 a, and a formed wire shaft 212 b. A sliding plate 214 and sliding spring 216 fit into grooves of housing 220 that is mated to solenoid 218 and solenoid plunger 218 a. Switch 222 is mounted in the housing under the sliding spring 216.

With reference to FIGS. 10a-f, the operation of the relevant portion of the device is described. FIG. 10a shows the device as in normal operation with current allowed to pass through.

FIG. 10b shows the operation when tripped. Solenoid 218 pulls plunger 218 a and pushes sliding spring 216 and sliding plate 214 to the right such that sliding spring 216 no longer holds down reset plunger shoulder 210 c and the spring bias of spring 210 a forces plunger 210 b upward and the circuit is broken (not shown).

FIG. 10c shows the reset lockout mechanism in use. After the tripped state, when the reset button 210 is depressed, the step in conical tip 210 d presses down on sliding spring 216 and forces switch 222 to close. This view is prior to the solenoid actuation.

FIG. 10d shows the test being completed successfully. The switch 222 closes the test circuit that causes solenoid 218 to fire and the plunger forces sliding spring 216 and sliding plate 214 to the right, allowing the plunger to continue to travel downward once the plunger tip step 218 d clears the hole in the sliding spring 216 b.

FIG. 10e shows the device after the test is completed. The plunger tip 210 d clears the hole 216 b and the sliding spring releases upward and test switch 222 opens ending the test cycle. The solenoid 218 releases plunger 218′ and sliding spring 216 and sliding plate 214 return to the left. The sliding spring 216 then rests on top of the plunger tip shoulder 210 d and the spring 210 a pulls the spring up to reset the device.

FIG. 10f shows the independent trip mechanism of the device 201. The independent trip will trip the device without using the sense mechanism or the solenoid. It is preferably a mechanical device, but can be implemented with electronic or electro-mechanical components. As trip button 212 is pressed downward, formed wire 212 b moves downward and the sloped shape interacts with hole 214 a of sliding plate 214 to force the sliding plate and sliding spring to the right such that hole 216 b moves enough to allow reset plunger 210 b to release upward and trip the device. Accordingly, the sliding plate 214 is utilized to move the sliding spring 216 into alignment. The sliding plate 214 may be held in place by the middle and bobbin housings. The formed wire 212 b causes a cam action and moves the sliding plate 214, causing the device to trip.

As can be appreciated, the mechanical trip described will function to trip the device even if the solenoid or other parts are not functioning.

As can be appreciated from the discussion above, a bridge circuit may be implemented to provide reverse wiring protection as described in the pending commonly owned application referenced above. Furthermore an indicator such as a neon bulb may be utilized to indicate a reverse wiring condition. As can also be appreciated, the device may be manufactured or initialized into a tripped state and distributed in the tripped state such that a user would be required to reset the device before using it.

FIG. 11 shows a representative prior art GFCI without a reset lockout mechanism or independent trip.

FIGS. 12 and 13a-13 f show modifications to parts of the representative GFCI to facilitate a reset lockout and independent mechanical trip according to another embodiment of the invention.

The primary purpose of the Reset Lockout and Mechanical Trip is to lockout the resetting of a GFCI Type device unless the device is functional, as demonstrated by the built in test, at the time of reset. The Mechanical Trip is a part of this test cycle by insuring that the device is in the tripped state even if the device is unpowered or non-operational. The means and electronics by which this device trips upon ground fault conditions are not modified. These same means and electronics are now employed as a condition of reset. The test function is incorporated in the reset function, therefore no separate test is required and the test button is employed for a mechanical reset.

As shown in FIGS. 13a-f, the reset plunger 328 was changed from a semi cone (to lead into the shuttle), to a reverse taper. The diameter of the top edge (the area that latches the contacts closed) remains unchanged so that the holding power and release effort remains unchanged from the original design. The lower end has the taper removed and the diameter increased so that it will not pass through the shuttle unless the shuttle is positioned in the release position by the activation of the solenoid. The shaft notch 328 a is insulated and the bottom 328 b is conductive.

Additionally, the contact carrier 380 has a contact added 382 so that when the plunger is in the tripped position, the plunger is connected to the phase line, after the point at which it passes through the sense transformer. Additionally, the shuttle 378 is wired to the circuit board at the point of the original test contact.

In a further embodiment, another test switch may be used. Pushing the Test button 326 mechanically trips the plunger by moving the shuttle in the same direction as would the solenoid. This is independent of power or functionality of the unit.

While the large end of the plunger is within the contact carrier, it is connected to the phase line. When the reset button is pressed, the plunger pushes against the shuttle, but does not pass through. The shuttle is the other terminal of the test contact and contacting it with the live plunger initiates the test cycle. If the test is successful, the firing of the solenoid (exactly the same as on the trip cycle) opens the port for the plunger to pass through to the armed position. This causes the large end of the plunger to pass completely through the contact carrier, removing the phase line contact from the plunger, ending the test cycle. Upon release of the reset button, the return spring lifts the shuttle, raising the contact carrier to establish output exactly as before the modification.

In order for the above design to function a momentary operation of the latch solenoid must operate. If this operation is activated via the test circuit their reset of the device also tests the device eliminating the need for the test button to perform an electrical trip. This leaves the test button available to be converted to a mechanical trip mechanism.

The reset mechanism could have electrical contacts added such that the base of the plunger (latch) makes contact in the side wall of the guide hole located on the contact carrier of the device. This side wall contact would be connected using a small gauge very flexible conductor to the existing test contact (molded in the solenoid housing or on the PC board). A second connection would be required from the phase load conductor after the point at which it passes through the sense coils to the latch mechanism (the part that is acted on by the solenoid.)

The reset button is depressed. The plunger on the lower end of the reset button is in electrical contact with its guide hole which in run is wired to the electrical test circuit. When the bottom end of the plunger contacts the latch (which is in electrical contact with phase line) if the device is powered and if the test circuit is functional, the solenoid moves the latch to the open position and the plunger passes through to the opposite side. As the plunger is no longer in electrical contact with the side wall of the guide, the solenoid releases the latch to return to its test position. Releasing the reset button pulls the latch up as in the original design.

A mechanical test mechanism may be fashioned by removing and discarding the test electrical contact clip (switch) of FIG. 11.

As shown in FIG. 13g, a tab with a hole may be added to the part of the latch that is operated by the solenoid in the area of the spring end 378 a. Corresponding holes and mechanism may be added to the test button such that depressing the test button pushes a lever into the hole in the latch that would cause it to move in a manner similar to activation of the solenoid, causing the latch plunger to release on in a normal trip mode.

The latch (shuttle) is modified to have the “plunger operating hole” size reduced to prevent the plunger from being forced through when the latch is not in the release position.

Another embodiment is described with reference to FIGS. 14-16. FIGS. 14a-c show a prior art GFCI 400 in various stages of operation as described.

Referring to FIG. 14a, when the reset button 430 is pressed down in direction B, a raised edge 440 on the reset arm 438 slides down to an angled portion 451 of a lifter 450 as shown in FIG. 14c (but shown during a trip). As shown in FIGS. 14b and c, the spring 434 on the reset arm 438 allows it to move in direction D as it slides past the notch 451 in the lifter 450. When the raised edge 440 of the reset arm 438 clears the lifter 450, the reset arm moves back in direction C to a vertical position under the bias of spring 434. The shoulder of the raised edge 440 then becomes engaged with the bottom of lifter 450 because the reset arm is under bias upward of reset spring 436. The device is now reset as shown in FIG. 14b with contact 458 engaging 470 and contact 456 engaging contact 472. The lifter 450 is biased down on spring 452 on the right side of pivot 454 and the reset mechanism is biased upward by spring 436. Accordingly, as shown in FIG. 14c, when the solenoid 462 fires because of a trip or test, the reset bar 438 is moved in the D direction by plunger 460 until the raised edge 440 clears the lifter notch 451 and the bias spring 452 forces the circuits open by pushing the lifter 450 down on the right side of pivot 454.

Another embodiment of a GFCI 500 of the present invention is shown with reference to FIGS. 15-16b, and in relation to FIGS. 14a-c. As shown in the prior art FIG. 16a, there is an angled portion of the lifter 451 that is removed as shown in FIG. 16b to create lifter edge 551. Accordingly, as shown in FIG. 15, the solenoid 562 must fire and move the reset arm 538 past the lifter 550 and edge 551. If the solenoid does not fire, the reset arm will not be able to pass the lifter as in the prior art device because the angled lifter notch 451 is removed.

Another arm 582 is attached to the reset button which makes contact with contact 584 when reset button 530 is pressed down in the B direction. The test circuit (not shown) is then completed using current limiting resistor R. this will fire the solenoid 562 and move the reset arm 538 past the lifter 550 allowing the device to reset. If the solenoid 562 fails to fire for some reason, the device will be locked out and a reset not possible.

In another embodiment, an independent trip mechanism is provided as a mechanical trip feature based upon the test button 510. When test button 510 is depressed in the B direction, angled test bar 516 cams angled trip bar 580 in the D direction. This will push the reset bar 538 and release the reset button to trip the device (not shown). As can be appreciated, FIG. 15 shows the device already tripped. Because allowing the manual trip would not be useful, ribs (not shown) are placed to ensure that the test button may only be depressed when the reset button is down and the device is powered.

Accordingly, the device 500 may be tripped even if the solenoid 562 is not able to fire.

As noted, although the components used during circuit interrupting and device reset operations are electro-mechanical in nature, the present application also contemplates using electrical components, such as solid state switches and supporting circuitry, as well as other types of components capable or making and breaking electrical continuity in the conductive path.

While there have been shown and described and pointed out the fundamental features of the invention, it will be understood that various omissions and substitutions and changes of the form and details of the device described and illustrated and in its operation may be made by those skilled in the art, without departing from the spirit of the invention.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4002951 *22 Sep 197511 Jan 1977Cutler-Hammer, Inc.Electrical receptacle mounted ground fault interrupter with automatic plug insertion testing
US403426629 Aug 19755 Jul 1977Westinghouse Electric CorporationElectric wall receptacle with ground fault protection
US4521824 *13 Feb 19844 Jun 1985General Electric CompanyInterrupter mechanism for a ground fault circuit interrupter
US45958941 Apr 198517 Jun 1986Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Ground fault circuit interrupting system
US471943712 Sep 198512 Jan 1988Goldstar Instrument & Electric Co.Electrical ground fault receptacle assembly
US480205220 Jan 198731 Jan 1989Pass & Seymour, Inc.Latching and release system for ground fault receptacle
US485195122 Jun 198825 Jul 1989Associated Mills Inc.Non-defeatable safety mechanical actuators for appliances
US522381020 Aug 199229 Jun 1993General Electric CompanyTrip-reset mechanism for GFCI receptacle
US522400626 Sep 199129 Jun 1993Westinghouse Electric Corp.Electronic circuit breaker with protection against sputtering arc faults and ground faults
US5229730 *16 Aug 199120 Jul 1993Technology Research CorporationResettable circuit interrupter
US5477412 *8 Jul 199319 Dec 1995Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Ground fault circuit interrupter incorporating miswiring prevention circuitry
US5517165 *28 Feb 199414 May 1996Pdl Holdings LimitedSwitch mechanism
US559439824 Oct 199414 Jan 1997Pass & Seymour, Inc.Ground fault interrupter wiring device with improved moveable contact system
US56005244 May 19954 Feb 1997Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Intelligent ground fault circuit interrupter
US5661623 *22 May 199526 Aug 1997Hubbell CorporationGround fault circuit interrupter plug
US580539729 Sep 19978 Sep 1998Eaton CorporationArcing fault detector with multiple channel sensing and circuit breaker incorporating same
US5956218 *24 Aug 199521 Sep 1999Aeg Niederspannungstechnik Gmbh & Co. KgEarth-leakage circuit breaker with automatic monitoring capability
US604096724 Aug 199821 Mar 2000Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Reset lockout for circuit interrupting device
US624655820 Aug 199912 Jun 2001Leviton Manufacturing CompanyCircuit interrupting device with reverse wiring protection
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US681312619 Aug 20022 Nov 2004Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Circuit interrupting device with reverse wiring protection
US6867954 *24 Oct 200215 Mar 2005Zhejiang Dongzheng Electrical Co., Ltd.Reverse wiring protection device for ground fault circuit interrupter
US693745121 Mar 200130 Aug 2005Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.ALCI with reset lockout and independent trip
US69440016 Nov 200313 Sep 2005Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Circuit interrupting system with independent trip and reset lockout
US694693515 Nov 200220 Sep 2005Zhejiang Dongzheng Electrical Co., Ltd.Ground fault circuit interrupter with reverse wiring protection
US695412513 Mar 200311 Oct 2005Zhejiang Dongzheng Electrical Co., Ltd.Ground fault circuit interrupter with reverse wiring protection
US695889529 Jul 200425 Oct 2005Pass & Seymour, Inc.Protection device with a contact breaker mechanism
US697519213 Feb 200413 Dec 2005Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.IDCI with reset lockout and independent trip
US69754921 Dec 200313 Dec 2005Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Reset lockout for circuit interrupting device
US7019952 *20 Feb 200328 Mar 2006Shanghai Meihao Electric Inc.Receptacle device having circuit interrupting and reverse wiring protection
US703112520 Mar 200118 Apr 2006Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Reset lockout for sliding latch GFCI
US704991020 Mar 200123 May 2006Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Circuit interrupting device with reset lockout and reverse wiring protection and method of manufacture
US7068481 *5 Dec 200327 Jun 2006Pass & Seymour, Inc.Protection device with lockout test
US70987616 Dec 200429 Aug 2006Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Reset lockout mechanism and independent trip mechanism for center latch circuit interrupting device
US715471828 Jul 200426 Dec 2006Pass & Seymour, Inc.Protection device with power to receptacle cut-off
US717379916 Sep 20046 Feb 2007Pass & Seymour, Inc.Protection device with a sandwiched cantilever breaker mechanism
US717712626 Aug 200513 Feb 2007Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.ALCI with reset lockout and independent trip
US7184250 *9 May 200327 Feb 2007Hubbell IncorporatedGFCI that cannot be reset until wired correctly on line side and power is applied
US719550027 Feb 200627 Mar 2007Huadao HuangGround fault circuit interrupter with end of life indicators
US7209330 *12 Dec 200524 Apr 2007Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Reset lockout for circuit interrupting device
US721238612 Apr 20051 May 2007Pass & Seymour, Inc.GFCI with miswire lockout
US721552129 Dec 20058 May 2007Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.GFCI with reset lockout
US72659564 Dec 20064 Sep 2007Huadao HuangGround fault circuit interrupter containing a dual-function test button
US726855926 Oct 200611 Sep 2007General Protecht Group, Inc.Intelligent life testing methods and apparatus for leakage current protection
US72833401 Sep 200616 Oct 2007Pass & Seymour, Inc.Electrical wiring device
US72893066 Dec 200630 Oct 2007Huadao HuangGround fault circuit interrupter containing a dual-function test button
US729541521 Sep 200613 Nov 2007Huadao HuangCircuits for circuit interrupting devices having automatic end of life testing function
US731522727 Feb 20061 Jan 2008Huadao HuangGround fault circuit interrupters providing end of the life test
US731760022 May 20068 Jan 2008Huadao HuangCircuit interrupting device with automatic end of life test
US733645812 Sep 200526 Feb 2008Leviton Manufacturing Co., Ltd.Circuit interrupting system with independent trip and reset lockout
US74004798 Feb 200715 Jul 2008Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Reset lockout for circuit interrupting device
US740308619 Jul 200522 Jul 2008General Protecht Group U.S., Inc.Ground fault circuit interrupter with reverse wiring protection
US74117666 Jul 200712 Aug 2008Huadao HuangCircuit interrupting device with end of life testing functions
US749255926 Oct 200617 Feb 2009General Protech Group, Inc.Intelligent life testing methods and apparatus for leakage current protection
US7498909 *10 Jul 20063 Mar 2009Shanghai Ele Manufacturing Corp.Ground-fault circuit interrupter with reverse wiring protection
US751502426 Oct 20067 Apr 2009General Protecht Group, Inc.Movement mechanism for a ground fault circuit interrupter with automatic pressure balance compensation
US751884014 Feb 200614 Apr 2009Eaton CorporationElectrical switching apparatus and receptacle including automatic miswiring protection
US7522064 *26 Oct 200621 Apr 2009General Protecht Group, Inc.Apparatus and methods for testing the life of a leakage current protection device
US752544126 Oct 200628 Apr 2009General Protecht Group, Inc.Intelligent life testing methods and apparatus for leakage current protection device with indicating means
US753899324 Oct 200626 May 2009Huadao HuangReceptacle circuit interrupting devices providing an end of life test controlled by test button
US753899419 Jan 200726 May 2009Hubbell IncorporatedGFCI that cannot be reset unit wired correctly on line side and power is applied
US755104712 Feb 200723 Jun 2009Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Tamper resistant ground fault circuit interrupter receptacle having dual function shutters
US757695925 Apr 200718 Aug 2009Huadao HuangCircuit interrupting device with automatic end-of-life test
US759292425 Oct 200622 Sep 2009General Protecht Group, Inc.Intelligent life testing methods and apparatus for leakage current protection
US759882822 Dec 20066 Oct 2009Pass & Seymour, Inc.Protection device with a sandwiched cantilever breaker mechanism
US763372627 Feb 200615 Dec 2009Huadao HuangGround fault circuit interrupters with miswiring or reverse wiring protection and end of life alarm signal
US77016805 Jun 200720 Apr 2010Shanghai Ele Manufacturing Co., LtdGround-fault circuit interrupter
US7737809 *22 Oct 200315 Jun 2010Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Circuit interrupting device and system utilizing bridge contact mechanism and reset lockout
US7852607 *22 Sep 200814 Dec 2010Pass & Seymour, Inc.Protection device with lockout test
US78593685 Dec 200728 Dec 2010Huadao HuangCircuit interrupting device with automatic components detection function
US78687193 Oct 200711 Jan 2011Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.Tamper resistant interrupter receptacle having a detachable metal skin
US788946426 Oct 200615 Feb 2011General Protecht Group, Inc.Leakage current detection interrupter with fire protection means
US78894657 Apr 200915 Feb 2011Hubbell IncorporatedGFCI that cannot be reset until wired correctly on line side and power is applied
US792036529 Jun 20095 Apr 2011Pass & Seymour, Inc.Protective device with an auxiliary switch
US79362383 Sep 20093 May 2011Pass & Seymour, Inc.Protection device with a sandwiched cantilever breaker mechanism
US794049813 Dec 200710 May 2011Huadao HuangCircuit interrupting device with high voltage surge protection
US80545907 Apr 20088 Nov 2011Shanghai Ele Mfg. Corp.Ground-fault circuit interrupter with circuit condition detection function
US8072718 *13 Dec 20106 Dec 2011Pass & Seymour, Inc.Protective device
US80897383 Jan 20113 Jan 2012Hubbell IncorporatedGFCI that cannot be reset until wired correctly on line side and power is applied
US810222614 Feb 201124 Jan 2012Pass And Seymour, Inc.Protection device with a sandwiched cantilever breaker mechanism
US816440327 Mar 200924 Apr 2012Bingham McCutchen LLPDisconnect mechanism in a power receptacle with ground-fault circuit interruption functions
US82332518 Dec 200831 Jul 2012Huadao HuangCircuit interrupting device with interconnecting reset and test buttons
US829979924 Nov 201030 Oct 2012Pass & Seymour, Inc.Electrical device with miswire protection and automated testing
US830036814 Jul 200830 Oct 2012Huadao HuangCircuit interrupting device with end-of life testing, reverse wiring and high voltage surge capability
US844623423 Jan 201221 May 2013Pass & Seymour, Inc.Protection device with a sandwiched cantilever breaker mechanism
US846247119 Nov 200911 Jun 2013Huadao HuangCircuit interrupting device with high voltage surge protection
US847746621 Dec 20112 Jul 2013Pass & Seymour, Inc.Protective device with separate end-of-life trip mechanism
US84828877 Nov 20119 Jul 2013Bingham McCutchen LLPGround-fault circuit interrupter with circuit condition detection function
US855864616 Mar 201215 Oct 2013Bingham McCutchen LLPDisconnect mechanism in a power receptacle with ground-fault circuit interruption functions
US883001516 Mar 20129 Sep 2014Hubbell IncorporatedCompact latching mechanism for switched electrical device
US20110211283 *6 May 20111 Sep 2011Huadao HuangNovel circuit interrupting device with high voltage surge protection
CN101222100B10 Jan 200711 Jan 2012黄华道Creepage protecting socket with life end checking function
CN101807498B12 Feb 200922 Aug 2012万家盛Mechanical circuit breaker with short-circuit self-locking mechanism
Classifications
U.S. Classification361/45, 335/24
International ClassificationH01H83/04, H02H3/33
Cooperative ClassificationH01H83/04, H01H2083/201, H02H3/335
European ClassificationH01H83/04, H02H3/33E2
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
23 May 2011FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 8
14 Jun 2007FPAYFee payment
Year of fee payment: 4
25 May 2004CCCertificate of correction
12 Oct 2001ASAssignment
Owner name: LEVITON MANUFACTURING CO., INC., NEW YORK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:GERMAIN, FRANTZ;STEWART, STEPHEN;BRADLEY, ROGER M.;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:012267/0082
Effective date: 20010611
Owner name: LEVITON MANUFACTURING CO., INC. 59-25 LITTLE NECK
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:GERMAIN, FRANTZ /AR;REEL/FRAME:012267/0082